My mother-in-law, Mary, has made great strides toward her health goals including losing weight and improving control of her type 2 diabetes. I felt that her story should be shared, so I asked for an interview!
Obviously she agreed. Here’s her story:
How long have you had diabetes?
I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes 19 years ago. It went away after my son was born. I was told that I had a 60% chance of it returning. It did 4 years later.
How much weight have you lost?
To date, I have lost 61 pounds.
What did you do to lose the weight?
I started walking with a friend at a park in August and watching what I eat. More fruits and veggies and eating less food.
Can you tell me more about your walking routine?
My friend and I walk usually early in the morning in the summer (because it’s cooler) and later in the day in the fall and winter (the warmest part of the day). We started out at 2 miles and increased to 4. We have a varied walk from flat ground to one heck of a hill that seems to go on forever. We don’t walk fast (about a 22 minutes for a mile) so it takes us an hour and a half.
How do you stay motivated to stick with it?
The best advice I can give is…find a friend to walk with. If she doesn’t feel like going, she will go anyway so she doesn’t disappoint me and I don’t want to disappoint her. We motivate each other!
What do you do when you can’t walk outside?
I have a treadmill but after walking outside and hearing the birds chirp, feeling the wind on your face and actually saying “hi” to other people, I don’t use the treadmill much. In the middle of winter I did use it (grudgingly) a few times. We tried walking at the closest mall a couple of times but it wasn’t ideal for us.
How has your routine and weight loss affected your diabetes?
My A1C 3 months ago was 2.0 lower than when I started and I can’t wait to see it in December! I’ve started experiencing low blood sugars with the fewer calories and carbs I eat.
Did it take awhile to see the impact?
It took months for it to start impacting my blood sugar. I must admit it was a little frustrating that my fasting was still high and my A1C was still up but my doctor told me to be patient it would eventually react.
I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to weigh yourself every day when trying to lose weight, but you weigh yourself regularly, why is that and how does it help you?
I need the positive reinforcement of seeing the numbers on the scale go down. Although sometimes they go up, but I know that my weight will vary from day to day. If I only weighed myself once a week and it happened to be an “up” day, I think it would be demoralizing to know that I had done my best and gained weight! At least by weighing every day I see small victories!
What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed with diabetes (of any type or specifically gestational or type 2)?
Wow, tough question! I think everyone has their own individual set of circumstances (and excuses, in my case). One of my regrets is waiting as long as I did to start a walking regimen, but I guess I had to wait until I was ready. If I had to give advice to someone I would say: find a doctor you like and respect. My internal medicine doctor was the one who was managing my diabetes at first. He would get mad at me and tell me that I wasn’t taking my diabetes seriously. He referred me to an endocrinologist and it was the best thing he could have done for me. My endo treats me great and doesn’t freak out if I have a high A1C one time.
Is there anything else my readers should know about you?
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes I was also diagnosed with uterine cancer. Actually the cancer diagnosis came first and the nurse said “Oh by the way, you are diabetic.”
While talking later on, my mother-in-law commented that she and her walking buddy view their walking as more than just exercise, it’s been nicknamed “therapy” because they talk and “solve all the world’s problems while walking.” I think that walking with a friend and talking through whatever is happening in your life has mental/emotional benefits as well.
She uses non-insulin medication along with diet and exercise to control her diabetes as this point and with the introduction of more frequent low blood sugars, she and her endocrinologist will be able to figure out the best way to decrease the medication and help her toward a long-term goal of no longer needing the medication at all.
A couple of reasons why I think her journey toward her health goals is important to share are:
- Changing her eating habits and walking daily didn’t cost anything, no weight loss program fees no gym membership.
- She didn’t have to do something radical to make progress toward her goals. She didn’t go to a paleo diet or start doing P90x.
- It took time for the affects of her changes to be apparent, but she has measurable results.
- People don’t talk enough about gestational diabetes in general and its link to type 2.
- She recognizes the small victories.
I feel like I should also note that not only is she working hard to beat her diabetes, she’s also beaten cancer and has been cancer free for more than 10 years.
This post won Best of ‘Betes Blogs for Best Post By a Type 2.
Congratulations to my special guest Mom K!